Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Delta T

The mercury just hit 95 degree F outside and our office is cool and comfortable at 70 degrees F no air conditioning just clean, one-time investment of good site planning and super insulation!

Insulation is saving us money in the winter as we heat our building from the frigid temperature out side to a cozy 68 degrees inside but it also makes a tremendous difference in these hot humid days of summer. . . and yes I did say "these hot humid days of summer" and it is only May.

Learn more about designing a home that is easy to heat and cool regardless of the temperature outside in our upcoming Two Week Design Build Class

Monday, May 17, 2010

Free Intro to Concrete Countertops Class

May 22, 2010 9:30-10:30

Concrete countertops are extremely popular because of their beauty and versatility. Concrete creates a unique and beautiful product that is environmentally sound, low cost, and you can build it yourself.

In this free, one-hour workshop, we’ll discuss the many ways they can be formed, stained, ground, and finished. Our discussion will address the benefits of concrete and how to overcome its limitations. We’ll have samples for you to see and feel, and we'll walk through the process.

You'll leave with a list of materials and a cost estimate. Come with your questions and ideas, and we'll get you thinking in the right direction.

This is a FREE, one-hour workshop with a question and answer session at the end, but you must register in advance, as space is limited. Send an email with your name, address, and phone number as well as the class subject and date to info@shelterinstitute.com or call 207-442-7938 to reserve your spot today.

Concrete counter tops are attainable – we want to show you how!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Northern New England Home, Garden & Flower Show

Shelter is at the Northern New England Home, Garden & Flower Show this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Fryeburg Maine.

According to the show's website:

The doors will open at 11:00 am on Friday; 10:00 am Saturday and Sunday, May 14, 15, 16, 2010. Our spring show is full of inspirational ideas for the home and garden. This year our home and energy related businesses are putting a special emphasis on updating and remodeling in today's new eco-friendly world, all designed to help consumers make informed decisions about their homes.
The show also offers a bonanza of gardening displays, "good old-fashioned fair food," and fun stuff for kids.

Visit Shelter's exhibitor tables and receive a 15% discount on our favorite tools we have on display. Gaius will give a presentation on Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) at 11:45 am on Friday and Saturday morning as part of the Smart HomeOwner Seminar Series at the show. These presentations will be offered in Old MacDonald's Farm (follow the signs). Click on the image at left for more information (PDF) about other presenters.

The Show is at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds (directions). More details, including price of admission, a full list of exhibitors, and more can be found on the show's website.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Shelter Class Qualifies for Education Tax Benefits

If you've recently filed your 2009 tax return, you might be thinking about how to offset some of your tax burden for 2010. One way is to take advantage of tax credits or deductions for tuition and fees paid for courses taken at accredited educational institutions.

The Design Build class, which is being offered this summer from August 2nd to 13th at Shelter, is accredited through the University of Southern Maine and would qualify for some tax benefits. For example, the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a credit for 20% of your tuition and fees (40% for students coming from Midwestern disaster areas). More information about tax benefits for education expenses can be found on this IRS web page or from FinAid.org.

Keep in mind that some states provide similar deductions or tax credits, which would add to your savings. Many states are also offering tuition grants for changing careers or acquiring additional job skills. The Purely Post & Beam Class is recognized as job training by the Veterans Administration, Americorp, and many employers. You might even have a program at work that covers tuition expenses. Check with your employer, state employment agency, or state revenue office to see if you might qualify.

Parents and guardians can also claim education credits or deductions for their dependent children. If your teenager is an aspiring architect or carpenter, the Design Build course is an excellent opportunity for the kind of hands-on experience that might shape their college or career aspirations.

In the two-week Design Build course, students learn to build a house from the ground up (see syllabus). Shelter Institute's housebuilding class has inspired thousands to build their own home—you can too! You will come away with an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a modern house as well as the Shelter Institute notebook and your own class notes.

During the Purely Post and Beam class, days are spent on-site designing, cutting, and raising a post and beam frame. Students learn to select, use, and care for a complete set of timber framing tools. In five short days the class will turn fresh lumber into a carefully crafted 24x24 frame and leave knowing how to design and build your own.

For over 30 years, the Hennin Family has refined and perfected the art of teaching house construction to owner-builders from all walks of life. Join us this summer on the beautiful Maine coast for an opportunity to think deeply about how we build and live.